tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Thu Jul 09 09:23:07 2009

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Re: Questions with law'/puS

Terrence Donnelly ( [KLI Member]

--- On Tue, 7/7/09, ghunchu'wI' <> wrote:
> On Jul 7, 2009, at 3:23 PM, Steven
> Boozer wrote:
> > ter'eS:
> >> This is what I was getting at when I proposed in
> another context  
> >> {SuS bIr
> >> HoS law''a' qo' Hov HoS pus'a'}. But I apparently
> only dreamed  
> >> that we
> >> had canon support for putting verb suffixes on the
> {law'/puS} pair.
> >
> > AFAIK the only verb suffix that has appeared on a
> {law'/puS} pair  
> > is {-be'}:
> >
> >   QuchlIj vIl law'be' QuchwIj vIl
> puSbe'
> >   your forehead isn't ridgier than my
> forehead  (HQ 13.1)
> >
> > Note that it's on both {law'} and {puS}.
> This is consistent with the adjectival use of verbs in
> general, where  
> it seems that rovers {-qu', -be', -Ha'} are the only verb
> suffixes  
> seen in such use.

We haven't seen {-'a'} used on an adjective verb?  This greatly surprises me. Positive, negative and interrogative are such fundamental modes of discourse that I find it almost impossible to believe you couldn't use {-'a'} with an adjective.

When people reacted so strongly to my use of {-'a'}, I concluded that we must have _no_ examples of verb suffixes on a {law'/puS} pair.  But now that I know we have canon for at least one verb suffix, {-be'}, I find it very hard to believe that we couldn't use {-'a'}.  

I wouldn't hold out for the use of other verb suffixes, though, although if other suffixes were usable, it would become trivially easy to say, for example, "You are once again definitely the strongest warrior in the Empire".

Oh, now I see what you are saying.  You are interpreting the {law'/puS} verbs as if they are adjectivally modifiying noun phrases, as if {SoH HoS law'} meant something like "many (strong you)", in which case you are right: an interrogative on an adjective verb used adjectivally is not something we've ever seen, and it doesn't make much grammatical sense, either. But I've always interpreted them verbally, as in "The strong of you is many", in which case other verb suffixes are potentially allowable.  I grant you, going by word position alone, they look more like adjectives than verbs, except we've never seen two adjectives in a row like that anywhere else, and ascribing verb-like meaning to them to me makes more sense grammatically.  I'd say that the syntax of the {law'/puS} construction is so fossilized and so unlike anything else we've seen that you can't really draw a definite conclusion.

-- ter'eS

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